Is Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew in Danger of Being Benched?
One year after Minshew Mania swept through Jacksonville to the point where the fan base was literally chanting for him to be placed into a home game over Nick Foles, it appears the passer's hold on the starting quarterback position is on thin ice.
The Jacksonville Jaguars devoted their 2020 offseason to propping Minshew up as their new direction at the position, hiring offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to bring him along in year two while also not signing any competition at quarterback.
But through six games, the Jaguars are 1-5 and Minshew has struggled to take the next step the Jaguars were hoping to see from him. With the team now set to travel to Los Angeles for a tough game against the Chargers and Joey Bosa, is there a real chance Minshew doesn't enter the bye week as the Jaguars quarterback?
After the Jaguars started the season 1-1 with 57 points through two weeks, this kind of question would have been ludicrous. But with the Jaguars in the middle of a five-game losing streak in which the offense has failed to score more than 16 points three times, then it is a fair question.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport floated the idea on Sunday morning that Minshew could be in danger of being benched in Week 7 if he struggles, the first public notion that Minshew could potentially be benched.
"Jaguars starting quarterback Gardner Minshew is in danger of being benched if he continues to struggle, multiple sources say, and that could happen as soon as today against the Los Angeles Chargers," Rapoport wrote.
"If Minshew does struggle and gets replaced by [Mike] Glennon -- who has been the only other active QB on game day -- the team will likely use the bye to re-evaluate its QB situation."
Through six games, Minshew has completed 67.5% of his passes for 1,682 yards (7.0 yards per attempt) and 11 touchdowns with five interceptions, along with three fumbles lost. He threw six touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season but just five touchdowns over the last four games.
While Minshew's volume numbers are impressive, the Jaguars have still struggled mightily on offense despite playing poor defenses during their losing streak. Minshew, who currently is ranked 20th in quarterback DVOA, had his worst game of the season in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions, turning the ball over twice while throwing for just 5.52 yards per attempt and completing barely over 56% of his passes.
Minshew's Week 6 performance led directly to head coach Doug Marrone being asked after the game if he had considered letting Minshew see the game from the sidelines. Marrone said no, but left the door open for it as a possibility.
"No. Maybe in the future, I think. I mean, I’d be naïve not to say—that’s up for any position; any play that we can do for ourselves to get better. But no, I didn’t feel that way during the course of the game," Marrone said.
If Minshew does struggle in Week 7, logic says the Jaguars would insert backup quarterback Mike Glennon into the starting position. Sixth-round rookie Jake Luton impressed in camp but has so far been inactive for every game this season.
Glennon wouldn't give the Jaguars a better chance to win than Minshew currently does, but it would show the Jaguars are all-in on finding a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Not giving Minshew 16 games to prove himself would be somewhat shortsighted, though it would make clear what Jacksonville's intentions are.
Marrone made a bold move (perhaps the boldest of his career) when he benched Foles for Minshew last season. Could he make a similar move this week? Only time will tell.
The Jaguars are set to visit the Chargers for a 4.25 p.m. kickoff on Sunday.